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Thursday, November 18, 2010

14 ways to have a fresh and festive holiday

How do you keep the holidays fresh and festive? Here are some ways I do it.

1. When I decorate my house I often use Christmas scented candles to make it smell festive. My husband has a thing about getting a real tree so we always have a fake one. I use pine scented candles to make it smell like I actually have a living tree. It makes me feel good.

2. Homemade cranberries are such a highlight to our table during the holidays. We could go and buy it out of the can but that's just so boring. Cranberries, sugar and water is all takes from homemade cranberry sauce and it's really the one and only thing besides a turkey and stuffing that my kids make sure we have for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

3. I make people crocheted items for Christmas and send them off in the mail. When I do I put half a sheet of Snuggle fabric softener in it. I've actually had people call me and ask what scent it is because they love the way it made their item smell.

4. I always have homemade cookies for the kids in the freezer. I have a 'to die for' shortbread cookie recipe that tastes even better when they're frozen so I keep them in a container and every time we have company they come out. Always a good idea to have extra cookies around.

5. When I launder my sheets and blankets and put them away I put a Snuggle fabric softener sheet in between each sheet/blanket. When you take them out to be used they still smell clean and fresh. Such a great thing when you have unexpected guests. It  makes them feel special.

6. Fresh cabbage salad. Most people might call it coleslaw but this was something my dutch grandmother used to make all the time for Christmas and I love it. Shredded red and green cabbage, shredded carrots, shredded celery, Miracle Whip and done.This was always my favorite growing up and it reminds me of her when I make it.

7. When putting up my inside Christmas lights I always make sure I outline doorways. It adds a special welcoming feeling when you come in. It's a really nice, warm feeling.

8. Every year I take the kids to the store (Walmart or Target) and they each get to pick out one new ornament. It's a tradition. I have 2 grown kids, a teenager and an 11 year old so I have a full tree. It's fun to look back at the ornaments from years past.

9. Every Christmas Eve my kids get to open one gift from me. It always contains new pajamas and a coloring book or something to do. That way, on Christmas morning when you're taking pictures the kids always look their best in their new, often Christmasy, pj's.

10. We live in Texas so it's never snowy on Christmas Eve. We have a bonfire and roast wienies and marshmallows. It's become a great family tradition and a great way to get more clean, fresh air. I take pictures every year around the campfire. Eventually I want to put them all in a book.

11. Fresh egg nog is also a long standing family tradition that my father started many years ago. Homemade too, not bought from the store. Every Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been opened, he gets up from his 'dad chair' to make egg nog. It's easy. It's fresh. And boy, oh boy, is it good.

12. Right about now every year, my kids start looking for the clemintines to come out in the store. They love the fact (when they were little) that they have little baby oranges that they can peel for themselves. My youngest usually has one or two at a time.

13. Getting a live Poinsettia is always something I do too. I do have cats and dogs so I have to be careful the cats don't get into them but I find it adds such an elegance to any table they are sitting on.

14. Lastly, we always wreaths on our doors to welcome our guests, from family to the UPS guy. It's always a conversation piece because I let the kids pick a theme and we decorate them together. Sometimes they're a bit cooky, but that makes it even more fun.

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